Christmas eve, ‘Noche Buena’ is a special day for dining with the family, however, it is celebrated much more in mainland Spain than on Majorca, where lunch on Christmas day is a much more important tradition. However, it is traditional on the island for everyone to meet up at church on the 24th and celebrate midnight mass ‘la misa del gallo’, the highlight being the singing of the Sibila. The strong, harmonious voices, usually female children or women, that proclaim the end of the world. Adorned in beautiful robes and holding a sword, which they hold high during the entire chant. A memorable spectacle that has been decreed by UNESCO as an intangible heritage of humanity.
Following this wonderful mass, the custom is to have a cup of delicious hot chocolate accompanied by ensaimadas (spiral shaped sweet buns) with the family. A night filled with magic that awakens to Christmas day. The churches of Pollensa, Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia all hold this mass, as do many more.
Lunch on Christmas day is even more elaborate than the previous day, if that is possible! Every family serving their favourite foods, perhaps suckling pig, lamb, turkey or some delectable plate of fish, helped down with good wines and cava and followed up with sweet delights including turron (local nougat). Customary in many families are there citing of poems and singing of Christmas songs by the younger members of the family around the table or by the heat of an open fireplace. In years gone by it was not customary to receive gifts on this day, like the ones that Father Christmas / Santa Claus leave for us under the tree, however many islanders have now adopted this tradition. It is usual to display the nativity scene with small figures depicting the birth of Christ before the gates of Bethlehem.
Naturally, new year’s eve on the 31st of December is also extra special, with the peculiarity that at midnight with every toll of the bell a grape is swallowed envisaging good fortune in the new year.
Finally on the 5th of January, tradition decrees that with the arrival of the three Magi Kings of the East all presents are distributed. And on the 6th families meet again over a delicious feast with a traditional dessert of ‘roscón de reyes’ a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and with a small figurine hidden within. Whoever finds the figurine in their slice is crowned the king of the table.
A magical two weeks full of celebrations with family and good friends to relive the essence of Christmas together.